Mumbai, June 18 :
A bungalow here belonging to the father of India’s atomic energy programme Homi Jehangir Bhabha was sold for Rs.372 crore in an auction Wednesday.
One of the landmarks in Mumbai, the sprawling 15,000 sq. feet ‘Mehrangir’ bungalow on a 1,593 sq. metre plot at Malabar Hill was bought by an unidentified bidder, said the property’s custodian National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA).
Given its prime location in the posh south Mumbai, with a commanding view of the Arabian Sea, the three-storeyed bungalow and property fetched Rs.107 crore higher than the original reserve price of Rs.265 crore.
Bhabha lived there till his death in an air crash in the French Alps in January 1966, following which his brother Jamshed J. Bhabha became the custodian of the property.
A patron of fine arts and culture, Jamshed J. Bhabha looked after the property till his death in 2007, after which it was transferred to the NCPA, the institution dear to his heart.
Some employees of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre had demanded that the sale be scrapped and the property should be converted into an atomic energy museum in Homi Bhabha’s memory.
They approached the Bombay High Court, which declined to bloc the auction but kept the matter for hearing June 23, saying if necessary, the auction – the proceeds of which would go towards developing the NCPA – could be revoked.
Even Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had said he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the centre to acquire the property and convert it into an atomic museum.
Commenting on the sale, real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield’s executive managing director for South Asia Sanjay Dutt said significantly, the bungalow did not attract developers in the bidding process.
“It was entirely led by limited end user/investors looking at creating personal landmark assets within the city, which was also the primary reason for the sale to have happened at a significantly higher value above the reserve price,” Dutt said.